(The Hill) – Reality TV star Jen Shah pleaded guilty Monday to running a telemarketing scheme, a charge that could land the 48-year-old in jail for more than a decade.
Shah, one of the stars of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” pleaded to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in Manhattan federal court, the district attorney’s office announced Monday. American from the Southern District of New York.
She told a judge that beginning in 2012, she participated in a massive telemarketing fraud for nearly a decade that prosecutors say deceived thousands of people across the country.
“I knew it was wrong and many people were hurt and I’m so sorry,” Shah told judge Sidney H. Stein.
The ‘Housewives’ actor, along with his personal assistant, Stuart Smith, were arrested last year and charged with running the scam that defrauded victims nationwide by “selling to those victims so-called “commercial services” in relation to the victims. ‘ so-called online commerce.
She said she knew she was teaming up with others to market products to people “who were of little or no value.”
Many of the victims were described by the US Attorney’s office as “elderly” and “vulnerable”.
In a statement afterwards, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams called Shah “a key participant in a nationwide program targeting elderly and vulnerable victims.”
He added: “These victims were sold false promises of financial security, but instead Shah and his co-conspirators swindled them out of their savings and gave them nothing to show for.”
Assistant United States Attorney Kiersten Ann Fletcher said Shah acted as a “primary broker”, directing what the sellers were telling their victims and sharing the illegal profits, using some of the money to pay for the New York apartment where she lived and for other personal property. elements.
The charge typically carries a prison sentence of up to 30 years, but under the terms of the guilty plea, prosecutors said they would recommend Shah serve between 11 and 14 years. The Park City resident – who flaunted her luxurious lifestyle as one of the ‘Housewives’ – agreed to waive $6.5million and pay up to $9.5million in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Shah is expected to be sentenced in November.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.